Athletic awards such as Best Upset are given to honor the teams or individuals who defy the odds and achieve remarkable victories in sports. These awards celebrate the spirit of competition, the thrill of the unexpected, and the joy of overcoming challenges. In this article, we will look at some of the most memorable athletic awards such as Best Upset in history, and what made them so special.
The Miracle on Ice
One of the most iconic upsets in sports history occurred at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, when the United States men’s ice hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in the semifinals. The Soviet team was considered the best in the world, having won four consecutive Olympic gold medals and dominating international hockey for decades. The American team, on the other hand, was composed of amateur players, mostly college students, who had little experience playing together. According to The Week, the Soviets were so confident of their victory that they did not even scout the Americans before the game.
The game was tense and close, with the Soviets leading 3-2 at the end of the second period. However, the Americans rallied in the third period, scoring two goals to take a 4-3 lead. With ten minutes left in the game, the Soviets increased their pressure, but the American goalie, Jim Craig, made several spectacular saves to preserve the lead. As the final seconds ticked away, the American commentator, Al Michaels, famously exclaimed, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” The Americans celebrated their stunning victory, which became known as the Miracle on Ice. They went on to win the gold medal by defeating Finland in the final. The Miracle on Ice was voted the Best Upset ESPY Award in 2004, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest moments in sports history.
Buster Douglas Knocks Out Mike Tyson
Another shocking upset in sports history happened in 1990, when James “Buster” Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Tyson was the reigning champion, who had won all of his previous 37 fights, 33 by knockout. He was considered invincible, and the most feared boxer of his era. Douglas was a journeyman fighter, who had lost four of his previous 29 fights, and was given little chance of winning. According to ESPN, Douglas was a 42-to-1 underdog, and some bookmakers refused to take bets on the fight.
The fight took place in Tokyo, Japan, and was expected to be a quick and easy win for Tyson. However, Douglas surprised everyone by fighting with courage and skill, using his jab and movement to keep Tyson at bay. Tyson managed to knock down Douglas in the eighth round, but Douglas got up and continued to fight. In the tenth round, Douglas landed a devastating uppercut that stunned Tyson, followed by a series of punches that sent him to the canvas. Tyson tried to get up, but he was too dazed and disoriented, and the referee counted him out. Douglas had pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, and became the new champion. The fight was voted the Best Upset ESPY Award in 2005, and is considered one of the greatest fights of all time.
Leicester City Wins the Premier League
One of the most improbable upsets in soccer history occurred in 2016, when Leicester City won the Premier League, the top division of English football. Leicester City was a small and modest club, who had barely avoided relegation the previous season. They had a low budget, a relatively unknown coach, and a squad of players who were mostly rejects or unknowns from other teams. According to The Guardian, they were given odds of 5,000-to-1 to win the title at the start of the season, and were expected to be among the bottom teams.
However, Leicester City defied all expectations and logic, and played with passion, teamwork, and flair. They won game after game, beating some of the biggest and richest clubs in the league, such as Manchester City, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur. They also had some remarkable individual performances, such as Jamie Vardy, who scored in 11 consecutive games, breaking a Premier League record, and Riyad Mahrez, who was named the Player of the Year. Leicester City clinched the title with two games to spare, after their closest rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, drew with Chelsea. Leicester City became the first team to win the Premier League in their first season in the competition, and the first team to win the English top division for the first time since 1978. Their achievement was voted the Best Upset ESPY Award in 2016, and is regarded as one of the greatest stories in sports history.